Craig Ferguson last night: no audience, one guest, a great hour of TV

Craig Ferguson had no studio audience last night, and only one guest: actor-writer-comedian-polymath and occasional Bones cast member Stephen Fry. They just talked. It was one of the best hours of TV I’ve seen in a while. It was also a crucial Late Late Show at a crucial time, just before the late-night wars begin once again.

Ferguson commenced the show by explaining that the “terrible thing unfolding on NBC” had driven him to think anew about the late-night traditions started by Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and “lovingly deconstructed” by David Letterman. And one of the inspirations for this one-on-one chat with Fry was a predecessor in the 12:35 time period, the late, “cranky, wonderful” Tom Snyder and his Tomorrow Show. (Check out my evening with Tom Snyder some time.)

One result of this re-thinking was last night’s “experiment”: Nothing new, Ferguson hastened to point out, but — well, yes, new enough. He and Fry wondered whether “it’s possible to talk to someone without people whooping in the background.” It certainly was.

Fry is a wonderful talker, of course. He and Ferguson discussed Hugh Laurie (he and Fry were a much-loved comic duo, Fry and Laurie, in the 1980s and early ’90s), Jersey Shore (“I’d like to have abdominal muscles like that,” said Craig) the punk rock scene in 1970s London (one of the 52-year-old Fry’s formative experiences), Zac Efron (“very beautiful and very talented,” remarked the eternally open-minded Ferguson), and Twitter (Fry is an avid, prolific “early adopter,” as he put it, and remember you can follow you-know-who #CraigyFerg).

They talked about Fry’s cocaine use, Craig’s alcohol use, and the uselessness of getting older. “I doubt I would recognize Lady Gaga if she walked into a room unless she had a wedding cake on her head,” admitted Fry. “I feel like a fogey,” said Ferguson, “but the best way to [combat] that is not to talk about how good things used to be, but appreciate what’s new.”

What was new last night was this old-fashioned hour, in which two people conversed in an enlightening, deceptively casual way. It was terrific to see two pros like this.

I vote for one edition a month of The Late Late Show in this format.

And finally, in intemperate complaint: Could CBS please start putting Ferguson’s show up on the CBS website early the next morning so people who missed it can watch the %$#@* thing? I mean, you’ve got a national treasure here. Start treating him better.

How about you? Did you watch?

Follow @kentucker

Comments (234 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 10
  • Dylan

    You would have to pay me to watch that annoying, braying clown Ferguson. In the brief moments I’ve seen him, he is beyond irritating. And who the hell is stephen fry??

    • john

      You are online. try a “search engine”
      but if it is too much for you. He is a british actor who american audinces would know as the Visiting English Psychatrist from BONES. Also the tv exec from V for Vendetta. And soon voicing the Cheshire Cat in the new Alice in Wonderland

      • rachel

        I didn’t know he was the Chesire Cat! Awesome! Thank you Ken for saying all the wonderful things about Craig! He always put himself and his show down for laugh but it truly is a great show!

      • Kiki

        and if you have kids you know that he is the voice on the show Pocoyo

      • Joel

        He also did the audiobooks for the UK version of the Harry Potter books.

    • side3

      Anyone who has to ask who Stephen Fry is needs to get to their Netflix and put “Jeeves and Wooster” at the top of their queue. This show starring Mr. Fry and Hugh Laurie is one of the funniest television shows ever made. Every episode is a gem.

      • tami

        And of course Blackadder!

      • Lala

        I thought he was the best part of Blackadder Goes Forth. Definitely a must-see series.

      • Doremifah Solatido

        Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry on Blackadder = comic brilliance. Gave Rowan Atkinson a run for his money on every 3rd and 4th season episode.

    • Sluggo

      But apparently Dylan will comment on a show he nevers watches and an actor he’s never heard of for free.

      • levelheaded

        Sluggo that was perfect.

    • jason.

      Well, you’d have to pay me to willingly read any more comments from Dylan.

      I’m not sure if you’re stuck with basic cable or not, but there are literally hundreds of channels to choose from; if you don’t like what’s on one, you can watch another. If nothing appeals to you, there are these things called DVDs, and if you’re not in the mood to watch TV, there are books.

      There is, however, no need to weigh in on something like this in the way you did.

      Go learn who Stephen Fry is and why he’s great, and stop douching up the forums.

      • Jinhi Baron

        “stop douching up the forums”, haha, love that, and I absolutely agree!

    • Wil

      Dylan: you shouldn’t be up at that hour. Middle school is tough enough. Leave the postings for the grownups….

      • Alessandra

        Really seems as if Rangnick sulohd have stuck with the original plan of giving himself some time after leaving Hoffenheim before jumping right back in with Schalke. Wish him the best.

    • Lloyd

      I would be willing to bet the Farm that Craig is a better patriot than Dylan. That said, Whaddado Dylan? Whadda do indeed?

    • leah

      Stephen was explaining “trolling” to Craig last night. I’d like to thank Dylan for presenting us all with the perfect example. Kudos, Dylan!

      • erin

        Agreed!

    • Sara B.

      Unfortunately i’ve only started watching Craig Ferguson during the past few months..and OMG WHERE HAVE I BEEN???!! Seriously this man needs to be promoted and given more credit by CBS. Ever since i started watching his show i started to read about him and about his life and everything..the man has a pretty interesting life i must say! Plus he is a very talented writer!
      I love Craig, he’s great i just wish more people would give him a chance…including CBS excs. :)

      • UnHolyDiver

        In his opening remarks, Ferguson made mention of the fact that the show is rarely, if ever, promoted, and that if you are watching the show, it means that you “found it.”
        I was also a huge fan of Tom Snyder’s, and I thought it was very nice of Craig to pay homage to Tom.
        BTW, if anyone wants to watch Snyder’s last show, it’s on YouTube(in 5 parts; about 7:30-9:30 minute increments). I highly recommend it.

      • suffersilentlysally

        OMG SAME! I only discovered Craig because I was looking to see what other Late Night hosts had said about the Leno fiasco. I was delighted to see Craig mentioning Haiti instead that night. He’s just an all-around great guy, and I can’t believe I didn’t know he existed before that whole fiasco! I was with Coco in the Leno/Coco debate, but Ferguson definitely won me over in January!

      • J

        Try his novel, Between the Bridge and the River, too

      • Lisa Long

        I loved your music show tonight. I missed her name, but she was great!
        Also,I adored the night you paid tribute to Tom Snyder with your REAL talk about important topics!! It was bomb!! Absolutely! I watch you EVERY night! I applaud your wit and especially your intelligence. Show the latter more, Craig. It goes over well indeed!!

    • JTipton

      You’re one to disparage Ferguson. You don’t even know who Stephen Fry is? HA! Go back to the primordial ooze from whence you came.

      I find them both quite delightful.

      Cheers
      Jennifer

    • jc in nw

      Oh, Dylan… don’t be a putz.
      I’m sure Jimmy Fallon is more your speed. Leave Craig for people with taste.

      From an all puppet show to his unique honesty with his audience, Ferguson seems to be the only one around these days willing to rethink the late night format.

      • Yessica

        - OMGosh! So many amazing phtoos. WOW!! and just when you think you couldn’t have any more knock me off my socks phtoos the post goes for another 2 minutes Awesome year fo’sho!

    • Rusty B.

      Dylan, it’s too bad you didn’t watch last night. They talked about you. Didn’t mention you by name exactly, but I’m very sure they were talking about you.

    • wakeforce

      You can tell a lot about about you from that statement right there.

    • Lorrie

      Don’t advertise your ignorance. I’m not from the UK, but I sure as hell know who the wonderful Stephen Fry is.

      • Lois

        Unless he has belults flying at him and explosives going off around him – I say, “waaaaaaaaaaa.” Get a sleeping bag and a good coffee maker with good Tschibo coffee , and keep them close to the stadium.

    • Harry

      You’re a buffoon.

  • dave

    Aren’t there about 6 other talk shows that have this format every night? I’m sure it was good but as you said it’s nothing new.

    • BP

      um, no? i guess? name another talk show with no audience and no bits?

      • D

        Charlie Rose?

      • Thaina

        Alceste, the acutal fight won’t occur until Iowa. Although you can’t see her (trust me, she’s there) , after tangling with the entire Denison, IA police force.

    • gerritv

      In his opening monologue, Craig said that what he was going to do was being done every night by Larry King, Charlie Rise and even Joy Behar. He said that although it wasn’t original, it was new and experimental for his show.

      • Machunny

        Yeah, but Craig is funny as hell doing it. I laugh out loud at his stuff, until I have to pause and start again lest I miss something. Has anyone ever laughed at Larry King? When he gets fellow Scots on (Ewan McGregor, James McAvoy, Gerard Butler) there’s no funnier show on television, even when he’s trying to be straight. Even his puppets are more evolved than most other stuff on late night.

  • Not Dylan

    Okay, so, the annoying assclown contingent has voted. Anyone else?

    • Isembard

      LOL. Yeah “Dylan” kind of outed himself, didn’t he? What a dolt. You also have to wonder about someone pathetic enough to read an article about a show that he has no interest in. Mental giant, that Dylan.

      • Silvia

        Cindy Easterling – Hi diana i was one of your day long mentees a few years ago, along with my giernrilfd Shannon. May be interested in doing an online version too! Plus was going to reach out to you to see if I could schedule a family session for fathers day weekend in Denver. We will be visiting from Atlanta that weekend. Let me know if you are available. Thanks!

    • susan

      Dylan – go back to bed and try getting up on the other side. Clearly you lack the sense of humor to appreciate Craig Ferguson. Go back to Sesame Street.

      • flicketyflack

        Hey Sesame Street is a pretty smart show!

        I’m sorry for anybody who has yet to learn about Stephen Fry’s gifts. I’m going to have to check out this Ferguson episode because it sounds good. I’ve enjoyed his monologues in the past and he’s a solid interviewer too.

    • Not Dylan II

      Don’t worry Dylan. Jay Leno is going to have the cast of Jersey Shore on when he returns. That should be more up your alley. You don’t want to give those brain cells too much of a workout.

    • Wil

      Now I know what the “assmode” in the Tweeter jingle is! DYLAN!!

      • Lloyd

        LOL Good One! Too bad it was not in the new Jingle. Maybe Craig would just insert “DYLAN” which in my opinion works better on twitter for assmode as it is less characters!

      • orville

        I thought assmode was the only one of the phrases to make it into the new jingle.

      • suffersilentlysally

        Haha no he definitely kept assmode. It didn’t fit into the new jingle, so it sort of pops up in the graphics randomly towards the end.

      • Swapnil

        What I need is like when you make a CD in iTunes, it has multiple trkcas where you can skip some and skip another, but In garageband I can’t create a project that has multiple sections that when I burn them to a CD, I can skip one section and go to the other. Can someone please help me? I need it very dearly, especially when making live albums. I can’t save one project after another and put them together, because I need them to fit together like a live album. Thanks!

  • Jerry

    Your loss.

  • Lexie

    I haven’t seen it yet but I plan to; I love Ferguson and Stephen Fry! Such a great combination!

  • Pat H.

    It was a seminal television moment and Stephen Fry was an inspired guest. It was like the old Tom Snyder interviews but warm and lively. Ferguson is truly underrated, and if you don’t know who Fry is, at least look up the Jeeves & Wooster series and see him in action with Hugh Laurie. Both are briliant.

    • Big Walt

      “a seminal television moment”? That’s a little dramatic, don’t you think?

      • UnHolyDiver

        In these days of the canned late night “talk show”? Yes; it was a seminal moment.

  • Maserda

    Dang, it sounds like I need to start DVRing this show… either that or try to find it on Hulu.

    • Joe R

      CBS shows aren’t on Hulu.

      • Maserda

        Damn.

      • labrat

        His shows actually are on Hulu. I looked it up last night because a friend of mine missed the episode. It looks like they put them up the following week after they’ve aired. But they are there…..

    • Wil

      Check out Malinky2Stoatir’s channel on YouTube. She puts up entire episodes within hours of the broadcast.

      • sab

        malinky is the best if you live overseas. I live in Kuwait and we get everything else (leno, conan, fallon, kimmel) except ferguson.

      • genius

        Wil,
        Agreed, ♦ Malinky ♦ is soo appreciated for her work on behalf of Craigs fans. I have thanked her in the past but I’m glad that others know how much she is appreciated also.
        Thanks Mal♥!

  • textumbleweed

    I like Craig Ferguson and Stephen Fry. I’m very sorry to have missed that and hope to catch it online somewhere. I can’t stand Leno, didn’t care for Conan, Lopez is horrible, Letterman used to be OK but CraigyFerg is where its at for an enjoyable late-night show

  • Sue1

    I am sorry to have missed this. Ferguson is the best of the bunch, and Fry is always funny and intelligent. Don’t fail me, YouTube…

    • Lloyd

      BBC is showing Stephen Fry in America series.Catch it when you can (If you have that channel) and especially the episode DEEP SOUTH. There is a Horse that Stephen Fry rides ( He is deathly afraid of riding horses )that will spout liquid out of your nose if you are drinking during that scene.

  • Karen

    Ken, check out YouTube. It’s up pretty soon after and in HD. If CBS won’t show the love Craig deserves, then the people will. But I agree – Craig and Fry were amazing last night. It was high quality and enlightening, on par with the Archbishop Tutu interview some months ago. Craig is brilliant, and as long as he gets an intelligent guest like Fry, I’d watch that talking hour all the time. How’s THAT for trolling, Stephen?!

    • DoctorZ

      Karen: glad you mentioned the Desmond Tutu interview. That was brilliant stuff as well.

      • Ariana

        wrote on Great news – lkioong forward to meeting you on the circuit sometime next year, Mike! p.s. do you know any of the Mayberry family in Nairn?

  • Annie

    I love Craig! I will make sure to check this out when it goes up on the CBS website. I agree with you Ken, they do have something great here with Ferguson. They should treat him right.

  • Mikey

    Mr. Wick has his own TV show?

    • Lala

      Mr. Wick + singing muppets! And a “robot skeleton” sidekick. It’s pretty awesome.

    • Devrim

      […] Here are links to Jawwad and Jehan’s blog posts on the sseison. Great job guys. Lets keep having these sseisons. […]

      • Auth

        Thanks for your comment, Tinkerbellchime. It’s soimetmes pretty random when I find something, but having the blog now allows me to earmark it for myself and others. Glad you found it useful. Yes, indeed I was affected by the fires here in San Diego. My husband, son and I got evacuated to Qualcomm and spent a day and night there. I’m happy to say that the fire never reached our community, so we were spared from loss for the second time. We were also evacuated in 2003, when 300 homes burned in our community. My heart really goes out to all of those people who are without a home now. I hope this is the end of our fire season in San Diego.

  • Marie

    I watched the show and a absolutely loved it. It was a wonderful, intelligent conversation that was a joy to watch. I am a fan of Craig Ferguson and wish that he could dedicate the entire show to a single guest more often.

  • Ghost of Tom Snyder

    Fire up a colortini and watch the pictures as they fly through the air!
    Craig Ferguson is excellent and I would hope he goes this route once a week!

    • amanda

      I got a tear when Craig quoted the old Tom Snyder line. Fabulous show last night and I agree – once a week, please! This would be great for the pre-taped Friday night show!

  • Emily

    I thought it was brilliant. Anyone who lets Stephen Fry talk for an hour is a genius. I hope Craig tries this little experiment again. I’m interested to see who he would pick next.

    • JD

      I agree. I usually like Craig anyway, but just listening to him and Stephen Fry without an audience interrupting was simply amazing. I love to here Stephen Fry speak. He is so wonderfully articulate. I hope Craig does this again.

      • JD

        oops I love to *hear* Stephen Fry speak.

Page: 1 2 3 10
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in TV

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP